I finished reading my pulp fiction for the summer, The Confession by John Grisham. It fit his formula of a suspenseful legal thriller but it had a very troubling ending with an innocent man being executed while the real murderer was making his confession. It was definitely anti-captital punishment rhetoric and it made me angry that they still do this in the USA.

What I really want to blog about is my latest read, The Devil Wears Nada by Tripp York, which also takes place in the U.S. American deep south. I must confess that I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about the devil before. I must also confess that I enjoyed reading this book so much that I actually laughed out loud a few times! Confused? Intrigued?

Tripp York grew up Nazarene, became a Mennonite about 10 years ago and is a philosophy professor in Kentucky. He is alot smarter than me and than most of the people he interviews for his research to prove the existence of and explore the nature of the devil. A warning though – he also has a gift for sarcasm which not all readers will appreciate so some might be more offended than amused as I was.

What makes the book so entertaining is the wide variety of people he interviews. The list includes people who refer to Satan more than Jesus in their ministry: a fundamentalist Nazarene pastor, a black revivalist preacher, a body-builder evangelist, the founder of an intercessory prayer organization, and a non-denominational minister. The list also includes people that those on the first list consider demonic: a Unitarian Universalist minister, a druid cleric, a pagan shamanist leader, and a few Satanists. The downside of his research is the limited geographical and cultural scope of his interviewees [How about Canadians? Africans? Asians? Don’t they have something to say about the devil?] In between these two lists of interviewees he exegetes a few key texts of Scripture: Genesis 3 [the temptation and fall story], Job [the conversation between God and Satan], Mark 5 [the sending of the evil spirits into the pigs], Luke 4:5-8 [Satan tempting Jesus], Revelation 13:7-8 [beasts, etc.].

The Devil Wears Nada is both irreverent and sincere. The book is not only entertaining but thought provoking.  I was forced to examine, not only my beliefs about the devil, but more importantly my beliefs about God, how I speak about both, and how I live. What are his conclusions? What did I think of them? That would be telling! And it would take away from your reading of the book.

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